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Full body schedule vs. split schedule

What works best, a full body schedule or a split schedule? A difficult question to which there is no immediate answer. Which training schedule is most suitable for you depends, among other things, on your goals. In the text below, we will discuss the difference between the two types of training schedules and their advantages and disadvantages.

Full body schedule

A full body schedule often emphasizes compound exercises. These are the compound exercises with which you engage multiple muscle groups. Well-known examples of compound exercises are bench press and squatting. With a full body schedule you train the entire body every workout.

Especially for beginners, this type of schedule is recommended, because you target a lot of muscle groups. This allows you to make progress quick and put on muscle mass across your entire body. In addition, you burn a relatively large number of calories with compound exercises, something that can work to your advantage during weight loss / cutting.


When you use a full body schedule, three (at most four) training sessions per week is sufficient. A training of up to one hour is recommended. Exercising longer can be detrimental to muscle building. It is wise to rest at least 48 hours between workouts to give your muscles sufficient recovery time.

You can train relatively heavy with compound exercises. Strength training is the most effective in terms of both calorie burning and muscle mass development when you maintain a load of about 8 to a maximum of 12 repetitions. Contrary to popular belief, an increase in repetitions does not benefit fat burning. Four to five sets per exercise is sufficient per workout. As a guideline, you can perform four to five exercises per workout.


+ You burn a relatively large number of calories
+ You save time
+ You train all muscle groups almost as often
+ Compound exercises can boost testosterone production


- Insufficient rest can lead to overtraining
- It is difficult to train a specific muscle (group)

Split schedule

With a split schedule you subdivide the muscle groups per workout. The combinations chest + triceps, back + biceps and legs are common. Shoulders can be trained on a separate workout, as well as together with chest + triceps. You can add your core training to your leg sessions.

These combinations are common as the triceps and shoulders are also targeted during chest training. The same goes for the biceps during back training. You use the core muscles as a stabilizer for the body during leg trainings.

Split schedules are ideal for when you want to tackle any underdeveloped muscle (group), because (unlike a full body schedule) you use more isolation exercises. These are exercises with which you 'only' engage one muscle (group). In addition, you can more easily provide the body with the necessary rest, as you can relieve certain muscle (groups) because of the isolation exercises.


Three to five training sessions a week is enough to stimulate the muscles to the maximum and give your body enough rest. You do need to rest for at least 48 hours between training the same muscle (groups). In order not to overload the shoulders, you should not train them shortly after a chest + triceps workout. The same is true in reverse. More experienced athletes often use a split schedule due to the fact that training can take longer than an hour.

The basis of a split schedule should also consist of compound exercises, supplemented with isolation exercises. Regardless of whether you are in the bulking or cutting phase, the load of compound exercises is most ideal when you do 8 to 12 reps. Isolation exercises are most effective when you do 10 to 15 repetitions.


+ More intense load per muscle (group)

+ You can train a muscle (group) more specifically, ideal for recovery or underdeveloped muscle groups

+ You can train more often in total


- You can train specific muscle (groups) less often compared to a full body schedule

- Your testosterone production is less affected compared to a full body schedule